The Wine: Alicante 2016
Ampeleia Alicante is a red natural wine from Tuscany made from 100% Alicante Nero grapes farmed sustainably and harvested around the first week of September. Yield is at around 50 hectoliters per hectare. The wine is aged for 6 months in cement vats.
The grapes are sourced in plot n° 148 of cadastral sheet 153 called "Vigna della Pieve", with sandy soils rich in pebbles. Alicante Nero is a fairly common Mediterranean variety also known as Grenache in France, Cannonau in the neighboring island of Sardinia and as Garnacha in Spain.
The Producer: Ampeleia
Ampeleia was born in 2002 from the collaboration and friendship between Elisabetta Foradori, Thomas Widmann, and Giovanni Podini. They saw in Ampeleia a place where they could not only develop an agricultural project but also fulfill a common vision relating to shared values and experiences. Since 2009, Thomas's intense political commitment in his homeland has compelled him to forsake his involvement in Ampeleia.
Ampeleia exists thanks to the hard work of many people who, with great passion, dedicate their time and energy for the success and development of this project. Simona Spinelli has been managing the administrative and commercial aspects since the very beginning while Marco Tait oversees all aspects linked to wine production.
Their effort is completed by a dynamic and energetic group of young people working together in an atmosphere of dialogue and mutual improvement: Leonardo Mucci as vineyard manager, Sara Bani and Valentina Fiorenti in the offices are the winery’s accountants, in addition to many other workers. It is thanks to each of them that Ampeleia writes its story every day.
The Region: Tuscany
Tuscany, Toscana in Italian, even more so than Piedmont, is the Italian region that has become a synonym with Italian wine worldwide. Its signature rolling hills, cypress trees, winding country roads, and medieval hilltop hamlets have been glamorized by countless films, TV shows, and publications, making Tuscany one of the most famous wine regions in the world.
Tuscany is situated in central Italy, delimitated to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the east by the Apennine Mountains – more specifically the Appennino Tosco-emiliano. It borders with Liguria and Emilia-Romagna (north), Umbria and Marche (east), and with Lazio (south). The capital of Tuscany is Florence.
The Terroir of Tuscany
In Tuscany, there are several microclimates which contribute to different terroirs. This is particularly evident if we look at the different styles of Sangiovese: cooler areas Sangiovese such as in Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino to, and warmer area Morellino di Scansano.
Generally speaking, the climate varies from temperate and generally warm on the coast to cooler with significant temperature variations between day and night inland, getting progressively warmer as we move south.
The Red Wines of Tuscany
Tuscany is home of the most widely planted red grape varietal in Italy, Sangiovese, which is present in a variety of clones with different names based on location. Classic Tuscan red wines Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Morellino di Scansano are made respectively with Sangiovese Grosso or Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino.
Chianti is also made with Sangiovese, grown all over the Chianti region, traditionally blended with indigenous red grapes Colorino and Canaiolo – although in recent years Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have also been used.
The coastal area around the town of Bolgheri, and more recently the southwestern area called Maremma Toscana, is where Super Tuscans find their home. Super Tuscan wines are blends including non-indigenous varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Syrah.
These French grape varietals are often blended with local Sangiovese, but we also have several examples of non-blended Super Tuscans.
The White Wines of Tuscany
In Tuscany we can also find great examples of white wines, Vernaccia di San Giminiano being the most characteristic, and sweet wines – Vin Santo, Aleatico Passito dell’Elba.
Trebbiano Toscano is the most widely planted white grape varietal but in recent years we have seen an increase in popularity of Vermentino and in some areas Chardonnay.